Discipleship Defined


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What is discipleship?

Here’s a simple definition:

Discipleship is training people to become mature followers of Jesus so that they know, love, and obey Jesus more and more in every part of their lives.

Let’s break that down:

It begins with following Jesus.

The first step to take, if you haven’t already, is to get to know who Jesus is and why it’s important. God is holy; we are sinful. The good news is that God sent Jesus to rescue us from our sins. When we trust Jesus, he not only forgives us but changes us. We must admit our need for Jesus and rely on him in order to be right with God.

It involves training.

Discipleship isn’t passive. God works in us, but we also work out our salvation too (Philippians 2:12-13). We must take action.

It involves knowing, loving, and obeying.

We need to learn more about God. We need to grow in our love for God. And then we need to learn to obey God by avoiding what’s wrong and by practicing what’s right.

Discipleship is about all of life.

It’s not just about our spiritual lives. It’s about everything: our relationships, bodies, work, emotions, and more. As Jeff Vanderstelt says:

It is the ongoing process of submitting all of life to Jesus, and seeing him saturate your entire life and world with his presence and power. It’s a process of daily growing in your awareness of your need for him in the everyday stuff of life. It is walking with Jesus, being filled with Jesus, and being led by Jesus in every place and in every way. (Saturate)

The goal is maturity.

God begins to change us from the inside out so that we don’t just behave differently, but we think and love differently. God changes us to be more like Jesus. Ironically, as we become more like Jesus, we become closer to the person that God designed us to be.

Discipleship Resources

Where should you get started in discipleship?

One of the best places to begin is with three core habits. The three habits are foundational to all discipleship.

If you are looking for a place to start, then reading the Bible is an important first step. It’s one of the most important things you can do to grow in your relationship with God.

We’re not meant to grow alone. Look for a good church so that you can learn and grow with others. God designed us to grow together.

If you want to explore how to build basic habits, then check out How to Grow. By reading and applying this book, you will:

  • Understand how the gospel applies to all of life
  • Recover the joy of spiritual growth
  • Take simple, achievable steps that lead to lasting growth
  • Strengthen your relationship with God
  • Make an eternal difference in the lives of others

You can also check out G4L Coaching for a biblical habit-based approach with support from a coach.

Discipleship is for all of us. Don’t give in to overwhelm. Pick just one of the resources mentioned above and get started. Let us know if you have any questions or if we can help.

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Discipleship Defined
Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash

I'm a grateful husband, father, oupa, and pastor of Grace Fellowship Church Don Mills. I love learning, writing, and encouraging. I'm on a lifelong quest to become a humble, gracious old man.
Toronto, Canada